Brandy, Cognac, Armagnac, Grappa, Marc, Pommance what are they? Is there realy a difference?
Are all fruits that are distilled classified as brandy’s?
Brandy’s, Brandy’s, thinking of brandy, I am just Jumping with excitement. I love Brandy. When I go shopping, I look at all varieties of grapes in the fruit aisle and think what would I do if I had all those fruit in my distillery.
Brandy’s are any fruit that is fermented and distilled. You can find the most exotic types of fruit brandies, being crafted around the world, each giving a taste of the local fruit and culture.
U.S. law considers all distilled fruit wine to be a brandy, which means if you ferment blue berries to a wine a liquid in other words a wine to seven percent and then distill it, that will be considered Blueberry Brandy.
We will not have enough time to visit all types of Bandies today so will start with the most popular which is Grape Brandy.
We will Start with Grape Brandy
The two countries that creat the most popular brandy’s are,
Cognac, and Armagnac, these are the french terms used for grape brandy and are for specific regions in france. In addition other regions like the rest of the world will use the title brandy in conjuction with their brand and region.
Pomance, Grappa, and Marc, are the names they are given in Italy.
The amazing world of Grape Brandy’s, why the name’s such as Cognac?
First France’s Cognac
France, is world famous for their wines and rightfully so. Being the home of a wine making tradition that dates back for hundreds of years. The French carefully built up their reputation for perfection.
Further to call your distilled grabe Brandy Cognac’ it must be doubled distilled in an alembic still, and aged in French oak barrels made in Limousin and Troncais.
Why is there no years of age on my Cognac?
The answer being the way tht its done gives the master blender the abilty to blend the taste to perfection, without losing value.
- V.S. (Very Special) or (three stars) designates a blend in which the youngest brandy has been stored for a miniumum of two years in cask.
- V.S.O.P. (Very Superior Old Pale) or Reserve designates a blend in which the youngest brandy is stored for at least four years in a cask
- XO (Extra Old) or Napoléon currently designates a blend in which the youngest brandy is stored for at least six years. The minimum storage age of the youngest brandy used in an XO blend has been increased to 10 years in April 2018; this rule was originally scheduled for implementation in 2016, but was postponed due to inadequate stocks.The Napoleon designation, previously unofficial, will then be used to specifically denote those blends with a minimum age of six years that do not meet the revised XO definition.
- Hors d’âge (Beyond Age) is a designation which BNIC states is equal to XO, but in practice the term is used by producers to market a high-quality product beyond the official age scale
By the way, there are Cognac Houses that have Cognac that can be way over a hundred years old. However the tradition is thaat after twenty five years the Cognac Houses pour the Cognac into glass carboy’s to pervent further evaperation.
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See you next week where will delve further into all things Brandy!